Picture of a Lion Chasing a Hyena

Big Cats

The Serengeti is home to two of the world's "Big Cats": the Lion and the Leopard. The Cheetah is also found on the Plain, but weighing in at an average of only 90 pounds, it falls short of the "Big Cat" list.


The term "Big cats" refers to large wild felines of the Americas, Africa, Asia and Europe. The largest cats are members of the of the genus Panthera. One definition of the term includes only the four species of Panthera (lions, tigers, jaguars and leopards). Members of this genus can roar while other cats cannot. As a result the ability to roar is sometimes considered a distinguishing characteristic of big cats.

By Marcel Raphael.
Voice over by Dr. Brian Child, associate professor of the Department of Geography in the University of Florida.
Copyright 2006.